Study Examines Contraceptive Use Rates Among Sexually Active Teens

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Young women need to remember that STIs are still a danger
Young women need to remember that STIs are still a danger

HealthDay News — High school girls who use long-acting contraception – such as intrauterine devices or implants – are less likely to focus on condom use than girls who are taking oral contraceptives, according to a study published online March 14 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Riley Steiner, MPH, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues tracked condom use among 2,288 sexually active high school girls involved in the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The team found that 1.8% of the girls used a long-acting reversible contraceptive and 5.7% used Depo-Provera injection, patch, or ring; 22.4% of the teens were taking oral contraceptives; 40.8% of all the girls surveyed said that condoms were used during sex; and 11.8% said they used the withdrawal method. The researchers also noted that 15.7% of the girls did not use any form of birth control at all.

The researchers found that girls who used long-acting contraceptives were more than 60% less likely to use condoms than girls who took oral contraceptives. Girls using any form of long-acting contraceptive were also more than twice as likely as those on either Depo-Provera or oral contraceptives to have more than one recent sexual partner. There was no difference in condom use among girls on long-acting contraception and those using Depo-Provera.

"We need to work on crafting a clear message about pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted infection prevention," Julia Potter, MD, of the Boston Medical Center, and Karen Soren, MD, of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, write in a related editorial. "Dual protection for sexually active adolescents should be encouraged, so that adolescents are not exposed to the risk of pregnancy or the risk of sexually transmitted infections as a result of selecting condom use versus effective contraception use."

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